The automotive industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity in smart automotive lighting is driven by energy efficiency, regulatory standards and compliance, safety and visibility, and growing importance of technologies such as augmented reality (AR), and connected and autonomous vehicles. In the last three years alone, there have been over 1.7 million patents filed and granted in the automotive industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in automotive: smart automotive lighting. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the automotive industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the automotive industry using innovation intensity models built on over one million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, LiDAR scanners, smart automotive lighting, and autonomous steering are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle sensor network, AV tire health monitoring, and collision avoidance systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among the maturing innovation areas are remote trip monitoring and smart speed governors, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the automotive industry

Smart automotive lighting is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Smart automotive lighting refers to the integration of advanced lighting systems in vehicles that utilize technologies such as sensors, control units, and illumination modules to provide improved visibility, safety, and communication capabilities. These lighting systems can adapt to various driving conditions, display the autonomous driving state of the vehicle, enhance interior and exterior lighting, and communicate with other vehicles and pedestrians.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established automotive companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart automotive lighting.

Key players in smart automotive lighting – a disruptive innovation in the automotive industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to smart automotive lighting

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Mobis 8 Unlock Company Profile
Koito Manufacturing 15 Unlock Company Profile
Magna International 14 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE 104 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 22 Unlock Company Profile
Valeo 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hancom 5 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 12 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 3 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 2 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 2 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 26 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 11 Unlock Company Profile 105 Unlock Company Profile
LG 12 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 3 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 36 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Minds 5 Unlock Company Profile
Clearpath Robotics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Uber Technologies 21 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Connected 5 Unlock Company Profile
Byton 6 Unlock Company Profile 2 Unlock Company Profile
Maxell 36 Unlock Company Profile
Applied Invention 5 Unlock Company Profile
ZMP 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hyunbo 1 Unlock Company Profile
InnovArt Design 1 Unlock Company Profile
Byton North America 2 Unlock Company Profile
Uatc 10 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Amazon is one of the leading patent filers in smart automotive lighting. The company’s’s adaptive front lighting systems (AFS) adjust the direction and range of the vehicle's headlights based on factors such as speed, steering input, and the presence of other vehicles, optimizing illumination in specific areas without causing glare for oncoming drivers. Some other key patent filers in this space include NIKE, Ford Motor, and Maxell.

In terms of application diversity, Magna leads the pack, while Amazon and InnovArt Design stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, NIKE held the top position, followed by Uber and Magna.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Automotive.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.